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Archive for the ‘definition’ Category

All the ‘good’ books, tell you to live ‘in the present moment’, which sounds like a really great idea.  But, you can’t help but live in the present moment, because that is where you always are anyway, so, it is impossible NOT to BE in the present moment in ordinary attention.

Though, sometimes, in our present moment, we are reminiscing about the past, or dreaming about the future, you have to consider that this is just a quality of the present moment.  ie, ‘in this present moment I am reflecting upon the past’.  Since this comes so naturally to us, I have a hard time labeling it as ‘bad’.

Personally, I think we have to transcend the present moment.  Sort of fly up and look down upon it from above.  From that vantage  point, you realize that it doesn’t matter what is taking place in your present moment.  There is a larger context to consider.

The only analogy I can come up with is a book.  A book has a first paragraph, and a last paragraph, and several other words and paragraphs and chapters  in between.  As you are reading the book, you are focused in on a particular chapter/paragraph/word of the story (your present moment).  But, the story already exists, in a complete form; the beginning is set, the ending is known, it is sitting there, complete on your desk.  You are just temporarily indexed into a specific section of it.

If you could zoom out and see the book on your desk, you’d know that every word is important to the paragraph, and every paragraph to the chapter, and every chapter to the book.  And, there are all sorts of crazy things happening in all of these chapters, some good, some bad… but they are all part of the overall plot.

We can’t say that any behavior in the present moment is good or bad, because we don’t yet know the whole story.  It could be, that in Chapter 3, it is necessary to reminisce about the past, so as to fill in the back story of the plot so that Chapter 4 makes sense.

The really interesting thing is that this story we are living has an infinite number of endings.  At every moment, every decision we make branches down a different logic path and a different group of possible outcomes is selected.  This is ‘Free Will’ in action.  We’re choosing our path through the story line… but we can’t make a wrong choice.  Every possibility has already been factored in… simply put, some stories will end more happily than others.

So dream of the future, or reminisce about the past, or walk through the beautiful woods and smell the air in the present moment!  But whatever you do, pay attention to the story.  That is all that is important.  Don’t drift off and live life, like it is the TV, playing something in the background that you are not really paying attention to.

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Willpower

Why do some people accomplish more in life than others?  Why are some more adept at achieving what they desire?  Why do some people cause more change in the world?  Willpower.

Willpower is an enigma.  Everybody knows what it means.  They know how much, or how little they have.  They recognize it in others.  But it’s not something you can weigh; not something you can measure.

Willpower is exactly as its name implies.  It is Power, directed by the Will.  If you have little Will, or little Power, then you have little Willpower.  Those people who do have a lot of Willpower, have a tremendous desire that they want to fulfill (the Will). And, somehow, through the practices of their life, they have amassed a large amount of kundalini energy (the Power) to help them achieve that goal.

Perhaps they meditate, perhaps they practice martial arts, or selfless giving.  Maybe, they just lead a very tight life, without wasting a lot of energy.  They might have moved into a home located on or near a power spot.  They may have made friends with powerful people or teachers who could transmit their energy to them.  They may have been a powerful person in a previous incarnation.  There are many ways to gain power.

Ghandi had great Willpower, as did Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa. Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler and even Donald Trump have all had tremendous Willpower… the difference, of course, is the desire each wished to fulfill.

If your desires are for good, then Willpower will help elevate your spirit, and help you change the world in a positive way.  If your desires are for evil, then the opposite may occur.  And, if you are just ordinary, with selfish desires, then you will likely achieve what you wish for, but it won’t make you very happy.  In which case you join the ranks of what they call ‘the hungry ghosts’; beings with a huge appetite that can never be sated.

The navel chakra is the center for Willpower.  If you meditate on this chakra,  you will release a tremendous amount of energy that you may then use to achieve whatever you desire.  When you wish to apply your Willpower, you project a line of energy from your navel center to the navel center of others, and then direct the full force of your will into their energy body.  The stronger your power, the stronger your will, the easier it is to ‘push’ another being into doing what you want.  Don’t look so surprised… you already know precisely how to do this.

If you practice meditation and self-discovery, you are no doubt well aware of this. After beginning my meditation practice and becoming more and more sensitive to energy and chakras, I was shocked at how often people projected their Willpower at me, to control me in some way.  You’re driving down the road and someone pulls up on your rear bumper, and suddenly you feel them willing you to move out of their way.  You go into a restaurant and the waiter is pushing hard to sell you on the special of the day and your navel center starts to burn.  You want to do almost anything to make it stop.  So, what do you do?

Like anything, your reaction generates karma.  You could get angry and push back, hard. But then you end up angry, and someone ends up hurt.  Or you can summon your own power of will to match it, and remain unmoved, locked in a battle of wills… and while  you may win or draw, you’ll still lose a lot of energy in the process.  The best approach is to note what is occurring, decide if it is appropriate to respond and do so if necessary, but if not, then remove yourself from the equation; change lanes, excuse yourself from the conversation, or go ahead and order the special of the day if you don’t really care.  In this way, you’ve made your own conscious choice about what to do, and yet you’ve retained your energy.

When you become sensitive to the Willpower of others pressing in on you, you will also become aware of how often you press your Willpower in upon others.  We all do it to some degree, but it is a question of how much you do it, and what your ultimate intention of doing so is.  If it is for your own selfish gains, or to hurt others, the power will kick back at you and drive you into lower states of awareness.  But to use your power to help others achieve their goals, or just leave them alone entirely and focus on doing things for yourself, that will lead you into higher and higher states of awareness… and success, in all you do!

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Original Music

The shakuhachi is a Japanese flute made of bamboo.  They are played from the end, rather than transversely as many concert flutes are played.  One blows on a reed carved into the lip in much the same way we used to blow on the lip of soda bottles to make a sound.

The shakuhachi was traditionally played by Zen monks known as komusō or ‘Priests of Nothingness’, as a form of meditation known as suizen – ‘Blowing Zen’.  As with sumi-e painting or Zen calligraphy, the monk is instructed to clear their mind, and let the art flow from the ’emptiness’ which translates into English poorly, as emptiness isn’t empty at all.  Voidness is another word used to describe it, but still it lacks in the translation.  However you imagine it, the idea is to let the art flow into and through you and for you to be a worthy tool in the expression of that art.  You are more the brush than the painter.  Songs from the void, played in this manner, were known as honkyoku — original pieces or original music.

Nowadays, the shakuhachi is played in a variety of forms of music, the blues, modern jazz, folk songs, and yes, even honkyoku.  Back in the 18th century, a monk was commissioned to travel across Japan collecting these original compositions, which formed the basic repertoire for formal shakuhachi schools. Today, students are instructed to learn each piece perfectly; every note, every inflection, to learn to reproduce the music exactly as it was originally played.

This seems to me to be the complete opposite of what the ‘Priests of Nothingness’ were trying to do.

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Most people are aware that they have a physical body.  Many people are aware that they have an energy body.  Fewer people are aware of yet another body we have, known as the causal body.  The causal body is often described as a luminous sphere, roughly egg-shaped.  My own teacher described it as a series of interlocking rings of awareness; similar in concept (not shape) to the double-helix found in DNA.

In genetics, the unique way your DNA strands interlock, is what makes you YOU.  It gives you your hair color, eye color, skin color.  It is also what makes you a human, or a bear, or a tree.  Your causal body is like that too.  Depending on how your rings of awareness interlock, it determines what ranges of awareness are possible for you. In fact, some suggest that it is the configuration of the causal body that governs the structure of the subtle and the physical bodies.  So, if your causal configuration shifts to one formation, you may incarnate as a house plant, or to another, as a saint with mystical powers.  It is through the causal body that we evolve (or devolve) from lifetime to lifetime.

Our DNA sequence is pretty much set for life (gene therapy may change this in the not too distant future).  Likewise, our causal configuration does not normally change significantly over the course of our life;  the rings of awareness are interlocked so tightly, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to separate them and allow them to shift.  Typically, we only experience this burst of energy at the moment of death. When these rings of awareness separate, they will shift to a new position, like the way that tectonic plates shift when energy releases during an earthquake.

I said that our causal configuration does not change significantly over the course of our life, but it does change some, in response to major life events.  Events such as your first sexual encounter, the birth of a child, a marriage, the death of a loved one; these experiences shock us on a deep level (hopefully, in most cases, in a positive way).  That shock can release enough energy to cause our causal structure to shift. Carlos Castaneda called this a shift of your ‘assemblage point’.  When this happens, we know that our life has changed forever, we are no longer the person we once were.  Think back to times you’ve experienced this in your own life.

If you are fortunate enough to encounter an Enlightened teacher, or a teacher with great personal power, it is possible for them to empower you enough to shift your assemblage point on a fairly frequent basis, causing rapid spiritual evolution, provided you are striving for positive growth.  This is one of the primary reasons to seek out such a teacher.  It is also possible for you to generate enough power through your own meditation practices and selfless actions to shift your own assemblage point, though it takes a lot of work and dedication to do so.

On certain levels, we become conscious of a pending shift in our assemblage point. Most commonly, we experience periods of intense free-floating anxiety (not connected to anything we can put our finger on).  We have a sense of impending doom, although it could just as easily be an impending revelation.  On some level, it feels like we are about to die, and in a small way, that is exactly what is about to happen.  When our causal configuration, our assemblage point, shifts, our ego — our limited self dissolves and reforms according to the new assembly of our awareness. It is a little death of the ego.

Needless to say, the ego doesn’t like this very much.  So, it fights with all its might to prevent these shifts.  It will try to sabotage your practice!  Trick you into doing things that cause you to waste your energy, doubt your practice or distrust those who might help you evolve.  Why?  Because it is afraid of death, afraid of the unknown.

The only way I’ve found, to get your limited self to align more with your eternal self, is to get the ego comfortable with change.  Changing where you live, changing what you do for a living, changing what you think and how you act (hopefully in a positive way), all these things help your ego to embrace change, to face the fear and to walk through it.

You will find as you do this, that your meditations deepen.  Because it is fear that stops us at a particular level in our meditation as well.  As your meditation deepens, and you are wrapped in that silence, you begin to sense the unfolding of something incredibly immense.  Rather than retreating to the safety and comfort of your known world, just keep going.  Don’t look back, just keep going!

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There is a family of aerialists known as the Flying Wallendas.  They’ve performed in traveling circus acts for over 200 years as acrobats and more recently as high-wire artists.  They perform these incredible 3 level pyramids on the wire without a safety net.  This takes serious balance!

Balance is so important to living a happy and healthy life.  To balance a scale, you put equal weight on each side.  To balance our lives, we need to give equal weight to each part of our life.  If we focus too much on work, and not enough on home or family life, we become unbalanced.  If we over-focus on family and not enough on ourselves, we’re unbalanced again.

We also need to balance the energies that we allow to flow through our energy body.  In a post about Chakra Meditations, I mentioned the importance of giving equal attention to each chakra so that you do not release too much energy of one type or another.  In our society, there is a tremendous focus on sex and (will) power, which involve the second and third chakras respectively.  So, we need to balance that out with a conscious focus on the heart for love, and the third-eye for wisdom.

We also need to balance the energy we pickup from our physical environment.  I spent the holidays out in the mountains of Vermont.  The quiet and peacefulness of the place on both a physical and energetic level reminded me that I’ve got to get out of the City more often!  However, if I lived out in that wilderness, it would be just as important for me to go into the (big) City often too.  Too much weight on either side of the scale causes imbalance!

The key to balance is not losing it in the first place!  And so, we need Mindfulness to keep track of what is going on inside so that we can make small, immediate adjustments in our life to keep us up on that high wire.

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This time of year has always been very important to me.  First of all, there is the Winter Solstice, the most powerful day of the year.  If you have the day-to-day affairs of your life in order, and can meditate well for the few days before and after the Solstice, it can fill you with tremendous energy.  And that energy can help you make major breakthroughs in your life.  If your day-to-day affairs are not so in order, or if your consciousness is a little sloppy, then that same tremendous energy will bounce your mind all over the place and you’ll experience many challenging emotions and states of awareness, and you may come away from the Solstice in worse shape than you went into it.

Then comes Christmas.  Recently, I commented on what Christmas is like for me.  I don’t like the commercialism that stokes the consumer fires this time of year, but I think it is great that people focus their minds on giving.  So, I can’t complain.

To cap off the holiday season, is the celebration of the start of the New Year.  My teacher taught that it is very important to put your full attention into everything you do, and to finish everything you undertake with your best awareness.  Because the awareness you end one task with is the awareness that you will begin the next task with, and that awareness will either help ensure the success of the next task, or doom it to failure.

When he washed his dishes and put them away, he arranged the cupboards perfectly, with all the handles of the tea cups pointed in the same direction.  Food was organized and arranged perfectly in his refrigerator.  His clothes were clean, contracts signed, and his bills were paid.  He said that if you are sloppy in the details of the most mundane things in your life, then you’ll be sloppy with the more important things in your life.  And if you are sloppy with the more important things in your life, then you will likely arrive at the end of your life in a worse level of awareness than you had at the start.  And, you will carry that lower level of awareness with you into your next incarnation.  Setting up a downward progression in your conscious evolution.

So, the New Year’s celebration always reminds me of this teaching, and I strive to get my act together before the end of the year (and the end of the incarnation).  I clean, I fold, I pay my bills, I meditate more, and then I try to have some fun.  This year was a challenging year for me, but I achieved some important things, and most importantly, I’m in the best state of awareness I’ve been in all year (with a couple of minor detours around the Solstice).

So, I’m going to do a little snowboarding, a little celebrating (just a little, hopefully), a lot of laughing, and try to start off the New Year right.  The following week brings my birthday, which is the most powerful day of the year for an individual.  So, the challenge for me is to ride the energy of all of these most powerful days well into the New Year and ensure its success!  Happy New Year everyone!

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It snowed down at the docks last night.   First real accumulation of the year.  As the wind blew, the flakes began to drift up against the portholes and it felt like being covered up by a big down blanket.  It was so quiet and so still.

Water is a psychic defuser;  it defuses psychic vibrations, thoughts.  This is one of the reasons I love water so much.  When you sit near the water, your mind quiets down as the thoughts of others are diminished.  With less noise in your head, it is easier to meditate and easier to ‘see’ or perceive the truth or the way.  There are a couple of islands off the Eastern coast of the US that I often go to, to get my ‘seeing’ done!

From a psychic perspective, one of the most heavenly places to be is a hundred and thirty feet down below the water.  But if you can’t get there, swimming through the water, or floating above the water is pretty great too.  Sitting next to the water is nice, especially in the Winter time.  But lying in a warm cabin beneath a blanket of snow is pure bliss!

If you can’t be near the coast or a lake or a river, then a big snowy field will do just fine, as snow is water.  Have you ever noticed how happy a dog is playing in the snow?

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